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Londoners LOVE the River Thames, data shows, but HATE its pollution problem

Londoners LOVE the River Thames, data shows, but HATE its pollution problem

  • New survey data reveals Londoners’ love for the Thames 
  • But many highlight the river’s pollution problem 
  • Tideway is building super sewer to tackle sewage pollution 

Londoners have a ‘love-hate’ relationship with the River Thames, new survey data shows, with many revealing a deep affection for London’s iconic waterway – and half highlighting its pollution problem.

Data released by Tideway, the company building London’s super sewer, shows that when asked to describe the Thames in three words, many responded with ‘iconic’, ‘beautiful’, ‘famous’ and ‘pretty’.

However respondents were also quick to point out the river’s pollution problem – with more than half describing it as ‘dirty’, and others using words like ‘polluted’, ‘smelly’ and ‘filthy’.

The survey results are today released to coincide with the launch of a new film from Tideway entitled Ode to the Thames, which celebrates the river, its history and the company’s mission to clean it up.

Sir Neville Simms, Tideway Chair and voiceover on the film, said: “These survey results capture perfectly the message of our new film – that we all love the River Thames and want to take better care of it.

“At Tideway, we’re on a mission to clean up the river by building London’s super sewer, which will prevent millions of tonnes of raw sewage spilling into the Thames every year.

“Once operational in 2025, Londoners will once again have a cleaner river befitting of the greatest city in the world.”

Other common responses…  

The new film from Tideway, Ode to the Thames, aims to capture the historic, cultural and emotional significance of the River Thames and to raise awareness of Tideway, the company building the new super sewer to clean it up.

The survey, taken by 300 Londoners, also asked respondents to guess how many tonnes of sewage spilled into the Thames each year.

Before work to clean up the Thames started, around 40 million tonnes of raw, untreated sewage spilled into the Thames each year.

But Londoners massively underestimated this figure, with the most common response ‘1,000 tonnes’ – an underestimate by a factor of 40,000.

NOTE: Online survey of 300 London residents commissioned by Tideway conducted by on 4th November 2022